Islanders fall to Pittsburgh

November 26, 2008 7:21:47 PM PST
Sidney Crosby scored a goal and set up two by Evgeni Malkin in a 5:35 span of the third period for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who rallied for a 5-3 win against the New York Islanders on Wednesday night. Malkin finished with a hat trick - all within the third - when he sealed the win with an empty-netter with 17.5 seconds left.

Just as they did less than three weeks earlier at Nassau Coliseum, the Penguins wiped out New York's 3-1 lead in the third.

At least on Nov. 8 the Islanders earned a point with the 4-3 shootout loss. They had nothing to show for this effort that produced a 3-0 edge midway through the second.

The big comeback made a winner of third-string goalie John Curry, who made his NHL debut in relief in the second period after Dany Sabourin was chased from the net. Curry stopped all 11 shots he faced after Sabourin allowed three goals on 14.

New York seemed poised to win for the sixth time in seven games, but instead got nothing on a night when prized rookie Josh Bailey had his first multipoint game with a pair of assists.

Bailey helped set up goals by Trent Hunter and Bill Guerin, and originally was credited with an assist on Doug Weight's first-period goal that gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead.

After defenseman Brooks Orpik cut Pittsburgh's deficit to two in the final seconds of the middle period, the high-flying tandem of Crosby and Malkin took over.

Malkin found Crosby with a pass to the left of goalie Joey MacDonald, as the Penguins captain straddled the goal line, and Crosby slammed in his eighth goal at 6:18.

Crosby then was at his playmaking best. He zipped a pass from the left-wing side to Malkin, who took the pass as he streaked down the middle and snapped in a shot with 8:57 left.

The duo needed 50 more seconds to put Pittsburgh in front.

New York, which pulled out an improbable shootout victory at Montreal on Monday when Canadiens defenseman Ryan O'Byrne scored into his empty net, was nearly as giving to the Penguins.

Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton brought the puck out from behind his net, but lost it right to Crosby. From his knees, Crosby sent a pass to Malkin, who scored while falling. That sent many in the crowd to the exits, and the rest followed when Malkin sealed it with his 10th of the season.

Until then, Bailey was in line to be the star of the game.

The 19-year-old forward, who has yet to score a goal in eight NHL games, has assists in three straight contests and five overall. The Islanders will have to make a decision after Friday's game at Boston whether to keep this year's No. 1 draft pick all season or return him to his junior team.

Bailey was given the second assist on Hunter's ninth goal that made it 2-0 at 8:55 of the first period and posted the primary helper on Guerin's ninth that pushed New York's lead to three - a power-play goal 9:26 into the second.

Joey MacDonald, had been sharp with an NHL-best seven wins in November, but he finished with 25 saves.

The Penguins are 8-1-1 in their last 10.

The Penguins showed some life after Sabourin was pulled when Guerin made it 3-0. With usual starter Marc-Andre Fleury sidelined for a fourth straight game, Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien turned to Curry.

Notes: The Islanders got D Freddy Meyer back in the lineup after he missed 14 games due to a sports hernia, but he replaced D Bruno Gervais, who is day to day with a leg injury. ... Sabourin allowed only five goals in going 1-1-1 during the first three games of Fleury's absence.


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